Does Tessa Blanchard deserve a second chance with a major promotion?

Tessa Blanchard was once a fan favorite who became a pariah for her actions. But should she get a second chance in a major organization?
WOW - Women Of Wrestling - News Conference
WOW - Women Of Wrestling - News Conference / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

Recent reports have indicated that there have been at least preliminary discussions regarding TNA potentially bringing Tessa Blanchard back to the promotion. The news once again spurred discussion as to the controversial former Impact World Champion given the fact that she had left the promotion amidst damning allegations of racism, bullying, and holding the world title hostage throughout the pandemic. Once again, the question is being asked: does Tessa Blanchard deserve a second chance?

Blanchard has continued her wrestling career since leaving TNA, working most recently with CMLL in Mexico. She also had a brief stint with the Women of Wrestling reboot, but that would similarly end after issues behind the scenes. Considering she had been touted for either WWE or AEW after appearances in the Mae Young Classic previously, it's clear that much has been squandered.

It's worth noting what's been alleged against Blanchard. After trying to take a victory lap following her Impact World title win, calling on fellow women to support one another, several of her colleagues came forward with allegations of bullying and derogatory behavior, and she was also accused of spitting in black wrestler La Rosa Negra's face and calling her a racial slur.

One of the first names to come forward about Blanchard's behavior was current WWE star Chelsea Green. She alleged that Blanchard had bullied and demeaned numerous female workers. Later, Allysin Kay would make the more severe that Blanchard had spat in a black women's face and called her a slur. Priscila Kelly - WWE's Gigi Dolin - as well as Tanea Brooks - AEW's Rebel - and Shanna would also echo the allegation, adding that she had engaged in further derogatory behavior during their time in Japan.

As one might expect, Blanchard denied these allegations. Even still, she was shown to reconcile with La Rosa Negra last year, giving credence to the allegations she had previously vehemently refused.

Negra captioned her post with, "We are human and our responsibility in this world to do better and/or be a better person to those around us. Being a good person at heart is not said, it is expressed naturally."

Blanchard echoed that sentiment in her own post, "Time, growth, and healing."

Tessa Blanchard was seen to be holding the Impact World title hostage during the COVID-19 pandemic as her contract was due to expire. PWInsider reported after her deal was terminated and her title stripped that she had declined to record and submit vignette material for TV while she was residing in Mexico. Sources claimed that there had been attempts to get her to return ahead of her departure to drop the title, but that never came to be and she was subsequently dropped.

Furthermore, while a lot more seedy in nature, Konnan has explained why he won't be welcoming her back to AAA - another promotion to have closed its doors to her - during his podcast. He first reasoned that she had been disrespectful, "She was like, 'Oh the only reason I'm in f**king Mexico is because of Daga." But he would also add that things would be uncomfortable considering the way her and Daga's marriage came to an end.

"It would be very uncomfortable after the way they got separated that she'd be in the same dressing room with him and then I don't want to put him in that position. They were married," said Konnan. "She hooked up with some other guy and he found out, like, one of the boys."

Tessa Blanchard looked to return to US TV when she joined WOW Women of Wrestling in 2021. However, it would prove to be yet another chance squandered when reports broke that the two parties had fallen out. Blanchard was accused of cutting an unsolicited scathing promo on Samantha Sage during a class, leading to many trainees speaking up. Acting classes were supposedly canceled indefinitely and Blanchard saw her role in training talent reduced, replaced by Selina Majors.

Does Tessa Blanchard deserve another chance in wrestling?

Wrestling historically has an issue with ridding itself of proverbial wood rot, the likes of Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, and of course Vince McMahon all able to find a home in the business after abhorrent crimes against their peers - in life and at work.

The difference is, that Blanchard's allegations arose before she had truly made her mark on the business. She had just started on what seemed to be a journey of greatness. And every opportunity she has had to get back on the rungs of success has proved to be a dud, with all signs pointing towards Blanchard being the one to hit the self-destruct button. It's not really a question of whether she deserves a second chance as opposed to a fifth, sixth, or seventh.

Every single time the door has been held ajar, the former Impact World Champion has become a coyote in the chicken coop. Any homemaker is painfully aware that wood rot needs to be caught quickly before it destroys everything it touches. That is no less the case with the malevolence in wrestling, especially when every attempt to rehabilitate ends in the same result.

It's said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing every time expecting a different outcome. So it could be literally insane to continue to allow a way back in when it's clear that the issues are still present. Flair, Hogan, and McMahon were protected by success when their skeletons emerged from the closet, leaving a capitalist system to make the decision between money and morality - always a losing scenario. There is a unique opportunity to set a precedent with the young, talented, marketable backstage tornado that is Tessa Blanchard. Rid the rot before it takes and it's much harder to remove.

This is especially the case as women's wrestling continues to break barriers and build towards something. There needs to be brick-layers, those capable of setting the standard for those later to strive to sustain. If all that's been said about her plentifully is to be believed, then Tessa Blanchard serves as the antithesis to that. Why ask whether she deserves another chance when the question should truly be as to whether women's wrestling needs Tessa Blanchard. In an industry that boasts Toni Storm, Jade Cargill, Becky Lynch, Bayley, Giulia, and Mercedes Mone - just to name a few - the answer to that question really does seem to be no.